HISTORY AND MISSION
Welcome to The Gnomon Workshop, the industry leader in professional training for artists in the entertainment and design industries. Founded by Alex Alvarez in 2000, The Gnomon Workshop was launched as a means to share professional techniques with artists who could not attend the hands-on courses offered at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood, California. Over the past nine years, the Gnomon Workshop DVD library has expanded to offer training by over sixty professional instructors on a diverse range of tools, software and media including design, drawing, sculpture, painting, modeling, texturing, animation, effects and compositing. Shipped to literally every corner of the globe, our DVDs can be found in countless libraries, studios and universities... and on many thousand bookshelves.
Gnomon's mission has always been to provide the highest caliber training that both educates and inspires, in order to help artists achieve their personal goals. Whether your interests are digital matte painting, character modeling, digital sets, vehicle design, creature rendering or maquette sculpture, our DVDs help artists learn from the experience of others in order to save time and improve skills. Techniques that have taken our instructors years to master are available to artists in a format that is unparalleled in art education history. Our customers range from high-school students who are just discovering the career opportunities that lie ahead of them, to seasoned professionals with decades of experience.
Located in the heart of Hollywood, Gnomon has become a hub for many of the industries top talents who come together to help train their peers and the next generation of artists. The Gnomon School and The Gnomon Workshop facilities comprise of over 17000 square feet of classrooms, studios, lounges, labs, offices and production space. With over 250 students and 70 instructors every term at the School, no other training provider is as immersed in the industry and it's education as The Gnomon Workshop. Our founder Alex Alvarez, himself an artist and instructor, maintains a constant dialogue with the industry to ensure that Gnomon maintains its position as a critical industry resource. As the demand for artists increases and the quality of visuals in games and film continues to mature, education is the foundation of our industry's future.
With a library of close to 200 DVDs, The Gnomon Workshop catalog can be an intimidating view of the myriad subjects that are available for artists to tackle. Design, Drawing, Painting, Modeling, Texturing, Rigging, Effects, Animation... each artist must choose his or her own path and continue with patience and persistence. Artists do this because they love what they do and feel compelled to create. Our DVDs supplement and guide the artist's journey.
Most of our students have a specific interest in mind when they discover and return to The Gnomon Workshop for their training. Some want to improve their skills as a character, vehicle, product or set designer. Some are interested cutting-edge 3D software techniques used in the video game, broadcast and film visual effects industries. Regardless of interest, our library is best approached practically. While a DVD may only take two hours to watch, the techniques will take many hours of practice to master. Many artists come to us looking for a single lecture. But on the other hand, many studios, libraries and schools acquire the entire library in order to create a valuable resource for their staff, students or patrons. This is especially true for professional artists in production. Project demands change from week to week, often requiring skills that an artist has yet to research or develop. R&D time is a luxury that not all artists find readily available. The ability to walk to up a shelf, select a DVD and learn proven production techniques gives any artist an invaluable edge.
We live our lives immersed in design. Design in nature, design in the objects made by man... you can't get away from it. Your watch, toothbrush, car, mousepad, television, apartment, favorite game character, fortress, weapon, dropship, game cinematic... whatever it is, someone designed it. An artist sat down, on their own or as part of a team, and sketched, painted, rendered or sculpted that character, creature, product, prop, architecture, environment or effect. And they were paid to do it. Of course our parents didn't tell us about this, thinking we should be doctors or lawyers, but eventually we found out.
The Gnomon Workshop library offers training by many of the industries most respected and admired designers. Any artist, regardless of skill level, will be inspired and illuminated by observing the techniques and listening to the guidance of such artists as Syd Mead (production designer, Bladerunner'), Ryan Church (art director, Star Wars: Episodes 2 + 3), Scott Robertson (concept designer, Minority Report) and Dylan Cole (matte painter, Lord of The Rings). This is instruction that can be found no place else. There is only one Feng Zhu, one Mark Goerner, one James Clyne... and these artists share their techniques here at The Gnomon Workshop.
There is a saying that "those who can't do, teach". Perhaps at some institutions this holds true, but not at Gnomon. Want to design vehicles? Harald Belker designed the Batmobile for Batman and Robin and the red Lexus in Minority Report. Want to design creatures? Carlos Huante designed aliens and creatures for such films as Men in Black, Van Helsing and Hellboy. Characters? Iain McCaig designed Darth Maul and the many looks of Princess Amidala in the Star Wars prequels. The list goes on and on. For years the techniques of such artists were kept secret, available to the select few who had the opportunity to work alongside them. But over the past few years, The Gnomon Workshop has been extremely privileged with their time, energy and commitment to education. We hope that you are as excited by this unique opportunity as we are at The Gnomon Workshop.
ANIMATION AND VISUAL EFFECTS
Over the past two decades, 3D computer graphics and animation software have come to dominate the industries of gaming and visual effects. From Spider-Man to Lord of the Rings, Shrek, Halo or Worlds of Warcraft, today's artists responsible for creating these visuals use cutting-edge software. Several multi-purpose applications exist as well as specialty tools that artists are expected to utilize. Programs such as Maya, Max, XSI, Vray, BodyPaint, Houdini, Vue or Zbrush make the games we play and the movies we watch visually richer and more believable each year. But as computers get faster and software evolves, artists are expected to stay up-to-date with the newest technologies.
Gnomon was originally founded in 1997 to provide professional training for Alias|Wavefront PowerAnimator, at that time the leading 3D animation and visual effects application used in film. Launched with one computer lab and four classes, Gnomon has evolved over the past decade to offer seventy courses to both students and professionals on a myriad of tools. While software makers have tried to develop all-in-one solutions, it remains true that to get the job done, many off-the-shelf packages are necessary. It is for this reason that the Gnomon curriculum, and hence The Gnomon Workshop DVD library, have expanded with the guidance of the industry. Our mission is to incorporate a diverse range of technical and workflow driven training solutions that focus on production specific examples.
The entire pipeline of animation and effects production is represented in our library via various tools. Camera tracking, live-action integration, character rigging and animation, hard-surface modeling, photorealistic texturing, digital sets, matte painting... its all here. And every month we continue to work with production artists in the development of new training that addresses new workflows, tools and techniques. Every year there is a new buzzword... such as 'normal mapping', 'ambient occlusion', 'hdri', or 'subsurface scattering'. We continually stay on top of these trends, communicate with production artists, and release new titles. As with our design series, all of our gaming and visual effects DVDs are produced by top industry professionals, who share the same commitment to education as we do at The Gnomon Workshop.
Alex Alvarez, Founder and President
Robert Nelms, Video Artist